Article By Chris Chew, Singapore based AMFPT Certified Master Trainer|
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Still No Rippling 6 Packs?
Do you agree that practice makes perfect? If you do, let me ask you something. When you keep practicing something that is wrong, you will only perfect the wrong thing don't you?
I think it was the sales guru Tom Hopkins who said, "Perfect practice makes perfect". I think that makes sense.
Day in and day out, I am seeing people doing sit ups after sit ups, crunches after crunches and yet after some months or even years, they still do not own the 6 packs they have trained so hard for. Why is that so? Simple. They are doing the exercises in the wrong form and techniques. They practiced what is wrong until they perfected the wrong exercises.
Before we discuss the exercises themselves, let me refer you to an earlier article on this web site"Why You Do Not Have Killer Abs". There are a few things from that article that I want to reiterate and that is exercises alone is not the only key to a washboard abs.
The ONLY way to reveal your abs is to lose that layer of fat covering them. No amount of crunches or sit ups you do is going to change that if that blubber around your waist is still there. So the magic formula is no magic after all. Just lose that fat and through the correct exercises, your six packs will show and they will show magnificently.
Once your body fat is below 12%, your abs will start showing. For the girls, they will show when body fat is below 15%. So, how to lose the fats? Check out my other article "Lose Fats - Gain Confidence".
How To Work Your Abs Exercises
Contraction is everything when working abs. Remember that your abs work like an accordion, not like a hinge. This is where most people do the wrong thing. They bounced up and down on crunches and sit ups going as many possible reps as possible in the shortest time. If that is the case, they are using momentum and that do not work on the muscles. Next and the most destructive thing that happens is that if there is no tight sustained contraction on the abs, it is not going to work! Yet, you see people doing it wrong everyday, every where and every time!
So when doing crunches, you should concentrate on crunching together rather than moving your body upwards. Imagine a log lying across your abs and your upper body is curling around the log to reach your thighs. You must concentrate on contracting your muscles as tight as you can when doing that. It does not matter how many reps you can do; the only thing that matters is how hard you can contract your abdominal muscles. Hence the name Crunch. So crunch it!
If it takes you 100 crunches before your abs begin to burn, then you are wasting your time. Your abs should be fatigued at no more than about 20 reps. If they are aren't, you need to add weights to your exercise and work on contracting the muscles tightly for each rep.
Forget about sit ups and leg raisers you may have learnt in school or in the army. These exercises work out your hip flexors more than your abdomen. Yes, you have been perfecting the wrong exercises since God knows when and may not believe me. Next time you do a sit up, put your hands on the body part where your hip connect to your thighs. Then sit up. What will you feel? You will feel that part of the muscles worked real hard. When that is the case, it will take away the load which your abs should be taking. Then tell me, how will those exercises train your abs well?
Think of the accordion when the player squeezes it to press the air out to produce the sound. That is the way you should crunch.
Lie flat on the floor with your knees bent as shown above. Place your hands just touching your ears. Do not grasp them behind your head or you may be straining your neck.
Curl off of the floor as if there is a log between your chest and your thighs and stop when you reach maximum ab contraction. Then hold that position and crunch it hard. Exhale as you curl up and inhale as you slowly lower. Keep the rest of the body stationary and you do not sit all the way up.
It should be smooth and controlled. Do not let momentum and speed come into the picture. You will soon feel the burn... enjooooy...
These are like leg raises, except that you are on an incline bench and should keep your knees bent. Lie on your back on a slightly inclined bench and grab the top of the bench. This is like the reverse of the crunch. The log is still on your belly. But this time, you are curling your thighs towards your chest encircling the log to achieve the hard contraction.
Again do it slowly and focus on the abs to avoid momentum.
That's it. Perfect these exercises and cut your fats, I will bet my last dollar that your abs will be the envy of everyone in a few short weeks. Wanna bet? SFO